President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday presided over the meeting of the National Food Security Council with six State Governors, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and some ministers in attendance.
The meeting includes the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi.
The meeting would deliberate on the recent hike in prices of foodstuff in the country.
President Buhari had on Sept. 2 via a statement by one of his spokesmen, Malam Garba Shehu, expressed the concern of his administration about the sudden spiral of food prices.
The president assured Nigerians that the situation is transient, saying his administration has already begun looking and putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.
He said: “While Providence has been kind to us with the rains and as such an expectation that a bumper harvest would lead to crashing of food prices and ease the burdens on the population, government’s concern is that the exploitative market behaviour by actors has significantly increased among traders in the past few years and may make any such relief a short-lived one.
“This year has indeed tested us in ways that globalization has never been tested since the turn of the century.
“These challenges have disrupted lives and supply chains all over the world, and Nigeria has not been spared.’’
Buhari also frowned at the activities of those he described as “corrupt middlemen’’ whom he said had further compounded the situation.
“But of all these problems, the most worrisome are the activities of “corrupt” middlemen (with many of them discovered to be foreigners) and other food traders who serve as the link between farmers and consumers found to be systematically creating an artificial scarcity so that they can sell at higher prices.
“In dealing with these problems, the administration has, in line with its ease of doing business mantra, avoided imposing stockholding restrictions, in order not to discourage investments in modern warehousing and cold storage.’’